Thursday June 27, 2019
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Jan-06-2011 02:03printcomments

The Second American Civil War

The Second American Civil War is not going to be North against South, but is going to be worker against worker; those have a little, against those who have less.

Salem-News.com
Class War: Workers in battle with the police during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934.

(CALGARY, Alberta) - It’s called whistling past the graveyard—something the majority of Americans are now doing. They think, hope, they can escape the imminent conflagration.

Prichard, Alabama is a city of 27,000 or so just north of Mobile. In 2009, its city pension fund ran out of money, right on schedule as it had been predicted for years. Against State law the City stopped paying the monthly pensions to its 150 retired workers . When the cheques stopped, the retirees tried to sue. The City responded by trying to declare bankruptcy but a judge blocked it.

The retirees are attempting to sue again, but in the meantime, the retirees are sinking into and dying in poverty. The retired fire marshal died in June 2010. He was too young to collect Social Security and, says David Anders, a retired district chief, “when they found him, he had no electricity and no running water in his house. He was a proud enough man that he wouldn’t accept help.”

This is the essence of the American mythology where people are willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

A week before Christmas, 2010, some of the retirees attended the City Council meeting to ask for at least some of their money. The mayor was conveniently out of town and the Council stonewalled them.

Cities, and states are crasshing into budget walls and an increasingly visible target has become the public service workers and their unions. In New Jersey about 20 percent of the work force is unionized (compared to 14% nationwide). Governor Christie has vetoed a proposed “millionaire’s tax”.

But for those who believe that government employees have it too soft, recent studies have shown that, even including benefits, public employees are compensated equivalent to or lag slightly behind private sector workers.

The Manhattan Institute, not exactly a pro-union organization, even concluded that teachers in N.J. make about the same as private sector employees who have an equivalent education.

Hamtramck, Michigan, just outside Detroit, is trying to declare bankruptcy, but the state is denying them this option, for fear that it might set off a ripple effect of further municipal bankruptcies. City Manager Bill Cooper thinks the city can “maybe” survive until March 1.

The unraveling of America has begun in earnest. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 42 percent of American children live in low-income homes and about a fifth live in poverty.

The number of children living in poverty has increased 33% since 2000, against an increase in the actual child population of only 3%. A 2007 Unicef report on child poverty ranked the U.S. last among 24 wealthy countries.

Downtown Los Angeles photo by Bonnie King

This bodes ill for the American future as tens of millions of children will grow up to be dysfunctional adults because they have low self-esteem and are deficient in a whole range of social and educational skills.

The result will likely be a stratified class society in America similar to that of Great Britain in the 19th century under the grasping strains of workers against workers during the Industrial Revolution while the rich sat back and skimmed off the profits.

The Second American Civil War is not going to be North against South, but is going to be worker against worker; those have a little against those who have less. The ultimate scapegoats, of course, are going to be the poor—particularly the children.

The average incomes of the top 100 CEOs of the 1970s were at about 45 to 1 compared to the average wage. This ratio had risen to 1,700 to 1 by 2006. Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, saw his annual income go from $10 million in 1984, to $203 million in 1994—equal to nearly 70% of Disney’s annual profit and a twenty-fold increase in a single decade.

The Forbe’s400 list of wealthiest Americans first appeared in 1982. There were 25 billionaires on that list. Today, they are all billionaires.

The total wealth of the 400 individuals in 2008 was $1.5 trillion, or an average of $4 billion each. Bill Gates was at the top of the list with $57 billion; bringing up the “rear” was Sanford Weill of Citigroup with only $1.3 billion. (All these individuals collectively “lost” billions after 2008, but the numbers are, or have been, restored as you read this.)

Salem, Oregon photo by Tim King

How do the ordinary people of Prichard feel about themselves, knowing what they are doing to their fellow citizens? At the same time, how much anger is directed against those men who have driven the nation into the ground?

Even companies that are profitable are compelling their unionized workers to accept two-tiered wage settlements so that new workers will make permanently less than those already hired.

In a 2003 column, conservative writer David Brooks described the growing gap in the United States between the wealthy and the poor, and the surprising lack of conflict between them saying that Americans “have always had a sense that great opportunities lie just over the horizon, in the next valley, with the next job or the next big thing. None of us are really poor; we’re just pre-rich.”

A cynical person would say that lotteries are a tax on the stupid. In the lottery of upward mobility, Americans, as a whole are among the world’s stupidest if they entertain the fantasy they, too, will one day be rich—the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. Americans have significantly better chances of being struck by lightning. It, too, is gender specific—males account for more than 80% of deaths and injuries from lightning.

Portland, Oregon photo by Tim King

I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it again. America has been brought to its knees by taking its mythologies too literally. I remember a Jewish joke from the 1960s. A Jewish man is talking to God and asks if the Jews are, indeed, his chosen people. Told it was true he asked if God could choose someone else for awhile. On American money it says “In God we trust”. Perhaps it’s time to no longer trust this mythical god, and become self-reliant.

The most telling harbinger of America’s downfall is that rural communities in Kenya, far from that nation’s electrical grid, have basic electricity now thanks to small solar panels mounted on the roof and, wait for it--supplied by China. The American decline is accelerating.

I’m going to try to end this piece at least in the direction of optimism.

I’ve always been supporter, in principle, of government. The government, after all, is an extension of the people. The American people’s current distrust of government is well founded, but it is still an extension of themselves. They are the ones who elect the bozos (Ronald Reagan), the corrupt (Richard Nixon) and the incompetent (George W. Bush). They only have themselves to blame for the mess they are in.

I suggest that there is at least one way out of this mess—however impractical—but it means thinking in different directions. The current bunch of politicians are, for the most part, the authors of America’s disaster. What would happen, if, in the next elections, at all levels, eligibility to vote were extended only to those people who had not voted in the last election, or last two elections. The people who have been voting are the ones who selected the current three-ring circus. The ones who have not voted were, presumably, voting for “none of the above”. Just a thought.

Links

David Brooks

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html?scp=1&sq=%22great%20opportunities%20lie%20just%20over%20the%20horizon%22&st=cse

Hamtramck

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/us/28city.html?emc=eta1

Two-tiered union concessions

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/20/business/20wages.html?scp=1&sq=%22two-tiered%22+unions&st=nyt

Prichard, Alabama

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/business/23prichard.html?scp=1&sq=prichard,%20alabama&st=Search

Manhattan Institute

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/business/02showdown.html

NCCP

http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_975.html

Lightning

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1999/essd18jun99_1/

KENYA

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/25/science/earth/25fossil.html?scp=1&sq=KENYA%20SOLAR%20PANEL&st=cse

Political pathology of tax cuts

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/opinion/30thu1.html

============================================

Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.



Hank Ruark January 20, 2011 4:00 pm (Pacific time)

Cheney was leader in Reagan cabal; for topnotch review of what followed under Bush II see "TAKEOVER: Return of the Imperial Presidency and Subversion of American Democracy"; Charlie Savage; Little, Brown 2007,;same year Savage won Pulitzer for National Reporting, surely guarantee of book's quality; ISBN-10: 0-316-17804-4 --thus with recognized authority supporting mine here over some years.


Hank Ruark January 18, 2011 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

:For Mike's "elect the Reagan bozos" comment, he displays his own unfortunate ignorance of the realities of recent American history. The complete career of one name Cheney is now coming into full honest, open display, furnishing still further inescapable proof of determined attempt to undermine and defeat any true democracy, Will furnish fullly documented further dialogt: hankatlma@ipns.com. moresoon on further disagreement with Dan's too-narrow view of whole/ world situations directly shaping too-true picture he draws of U.S. failures... Just getting computer/shift finilly set up for resuming friendly dialog with all.


Mike January 16, 2011 11:47 am (Pacific time)

"elect the bozos (Ronald Reagan)" Yep, you have no idea what you are talking about with statements such as this.


Hank Ruark January 12, 2011 7:15 pm (Pacific time)

"conditions of empire" intended; for prime example of to-be-famed speech outlining true American values, see text of President Obama tonight at Tucson.


Hank Ruark January 12, 2011 11:38 am (Pacific time)

Friend Dan is ONLY -SN writer who gets to edit own comments, controlling level and tone of response. That implies heavy responsibility to make sure complete coverage is still achieved...see my latest under mine own Op Ed series.

I value and honor his strong and professional work in laying it on like it really is --but insist that total impact of his ongoing work here is still built on erroneous interpretation of inevitable "conditions of empie", and look forward to resuming our friendly dialog asap can get damned replaced computer to operate at my bidding rather than as it sees fit to allow !!

More soon and Happy New Year to all, esp. Dan, who maketh us to think on key isssues controlling our own place in the world and how to make it what the Founders clearly intended.


Colt Magnum January 11, 2011 7:41 am (Pacific time)

Canadian opinion...

Multiple names means no comments posted! Your kind is not needed or wanted here. 


ScrewU January 9, 2011 11:04 am (Pacific time)

Another misguided leftist in Canada. Why am I not surprised?

Another arrogant American. Why am  not surprised?


Jules January 9, 2011 9:17 am (Pacific time)

Clark is actually the real family name for Jimmy Carter going back to the very early days of slavery in Georgia. Just as Lyndon Baines Johnson's last name would be Rosenberg. Just google "Is LBJ Jewish? The same is true for Sen. John Kerry, who is also Jewish. It's my prayer that these people admit to their wonderful racial heritage, of course not Jimmy Carter, but he should man up to his ancestor's vile slavery background.

Ah, now I get it. And President Reagan was really President Boonstra. Thanks for the insight. 


Jules Marguiliss January 8, 2011 6:18 pm (Pacific time)

After the downturn in the current American economy, the willingness for Americans to depend on themselves is becoming stronger day by day. This year, Americans will look to themselves to turn things around. People will begin to snub their noses at higher-priced imports and cheaper, sometimes dangerous, products created abroad and start to look inwardly for cars and other everyday necessities.

And Americans are ready to work for it.

With the immigration levels remaining high and unemployment the highest it's been since the early 1980's after President Clark left office, America will have a labor force ready and willing to do things as cheaply as other sources of labor such as in India, China and Mexico, at least when you consider what you are getting for your money; the American worker. The projected comprehensive use of "E-Verify" may possibly open up over 7 million jobs for our citizens, which would also help drive up wages for the lower skilled jobs, as well as blue-collar semi-professional jobs in the construction industry as well as other business sectors. Making things in the United States will present an opportunity for companies to be held more accountable for making mistakes rather than trying to heap this burden upon import regulators who are overwhelmed by the amount of products coming into the country.

High gas prices will open the doors for Americans to start tapping energy sources on their own soil, such as oil opportunities (like oil shale) and coal opportunities. While it might not bode well for the American landscape in the short term, it will relieve the price of energy for years to come while Americans work on alternative sources of energy. The future of nuclear energy in the U.S. will be looked at once again as the cost of producing and maintaining a nuclear plant has been nearly cut in half over the past decade. Public sentiment will grow for finding the cheapest energy resource, setting aside some of the past fears about nuclear energy. Some outsourced services such as computer support will be brought back to the U.S. as computer companies will be prepared to spend money on regional call centers rather than lose the confidence of an increasingly disenchanted public who are looking for folks on the other end of the phone who will speak their language and take personal responsibility for their computer issues. After the lessons learned from this year's financial crisis, banks will begin to find safer ways to offer mortgages for lower and middle income families so they can purchase homes and futures. The housing market may not reach 2006/2007 levels, but it will recover enough to once again become part of the backbone of the American economy. The obituary notice that many write for us will once again be made moot. Though the predicted loss of readership and pending bankruptcy of the NY Times will not be averted. This is no longer a credible publication except for diehard leftists.

What country are you referring to? I don't remember a President Clark. 


Casey Morten January 8, 2011 8:07 am (Pacific time)

Lyle is correct, just watch things unfold over the next few years. The really slow-witted people are those who have had poor success in their lives, so they are bitter, and it is obvious who these types are...

I see that you, too, are posting under different names. You're obviously as stupid as Lyle. 


Daniel Johnson January 7, 2011 7:17 pm (Pacific time)

Here is a good overview: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/business/economy/08reich.html?_r=1&hp


Lyle January 7, 2011 6:29 pm (Pacific time)

It's part of the character of both American naysayers and our foreign detractors to point out and augment hardship and decline, even though it is nothing more than a normal economic cycle. But our history tells us that - if we keep our wits and hold tight to sweet reason, freedom and creativity - we always seem to prove the naysayers wrong. From the early dilemas during our founding, to the many vexing problems of the 19th century, through two world wars and a major depression during the 20th century to the present, and now we have the incredibly poor leadership of the current administration, but still, we will overcome and once again provide the leadership the world needs. My prediction is that China will soon crumble under the weight of inexperience, and even Canada will soon suffer economically as we reduce our corporate tax rates which will put their economy into a spin as their profits dry up. God bless America. Our Exceptualism is innate, as is our genius and modesty of goodness.

Because you're posting under multiple names I feel free to point out that not only are you spouting nonsense, but you're stupid as well. 

Tim King: I second that...


Amanda January 7, 2011 10:03 am (Pacific time)

More power to you. You did an excellent job of discrediting the above "uninformed" voters, who fancy themselves to be in a place of national bliss. Maybe they are dug in deep enoughin their phantasies, so when reality hits the "manure" won't suffocate them.


Steve Sinclair January 7, 2011 9:18 am (Pacific time)

What's realy great about America, and clearly demonstrates our "Exceptionalism" is that we allow for anyone to say most anything as per the guidelines found in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents were responsible for spreading various freedom concepts around the world, including to our neighbors to the north (over time they have positively impacted Billions of people around the world), who as the writer of this article demonstrates, that regardless of accuracy or clarity, they are free to cite their opinions. I have been around for over 60 years and have read very similar assessments and predictions found in this article, but America continues to thrive. There will always be those who have not done well in life, either through no fault of their own, or because of mispent use of time. Suffice it to say, considering the size of our population, we have a safety net for these people that is the best in the world. My guess is that Candians of means, as well as others of similar means around the world will continue to come to America for help in many areas that we have expertise in, medical supremacy being just one area. The new congress recently sworn in will shake things up considerably, expect an economic turn around that the far left will attempt to take credit for, but the majority of Americans will no longer fall for that disinformation, and that was key as to why an historical change of power took place in our last election cycle. Far left ideologies are losing ground across the planet, but they do serve a valuable purpose: They keep us alert to the danger a tiny teeny minority represent to the world's welfare.

Like most Americans, you are woefully misinformed about the world. Canada got its democratic traditions from Great Britain, not the U.S., but then Americans tend to try to take credit for everything.

As for America thriving, the mounting evidence contradicts you. The US was so prosperous in the mid-20the century because the country was able to exploit the natural resources of the Third and Developing world. America's effective decline began in 1973 with the end of $2 bbl oil. The US is now competing with economic powerhouses like China and India. I won't say things look dim, but that things are dim. Time to pull your head out of the sand and let go of your magical beliefs in Exceptionalism, your Constitution and Bill of Rights. In fact, echoing Chief Justice Warren Burger who said in the 1950s that if the Bill of Rights were  proposed then, it could not have been passed. I think it's even more obvious today that the Bill of Rights could not pass a democratic muster. 


ShawnOttosen January 6, 2011 2:54 pm (Pacific time)

I like Regan and Bush, and voted for them. I do not agree with your well written but under-developed article. I would add that William Penn said, "Man must be ruled by God, or they will be ruled by tyrannts." Corruption is in the heart of man. God help us.

If, indeed, there is a Republican God! 


Gregory January 6, 2011 12:38 pm (Pacific time)

I saw that retail shopping over the Christmas season was the best it has been in years. Why? Possibly with a new congress taking aim at government spending, which is beyond available revenue, will impact our economic system to such a degree that positive changes may come about? I expect that as states and cities face bankruptcy, unions will re-negotiate new contracts or face no jobs at all. Making all of America "a right to work" employment environment wouldn't hurt either. Those states that are "right to work" rather than have unions dictate considerable power n the job sector, are doing much better economically. Very unlikely we will have any kind of "have v.s. haves" altercation other than in the minds of misguided Marxists who just cannot cope with capitalism and it's effectiveness, i.e., look at other economies that have put government in charged of most everything. Canada is a good example, they are running out of primary doctors, so those with the ability to leave that wilderness are leaving. Just ask Captain Kirk why he moved here?

Do you honestly believe that more Americans buying Chinese made goods is some sort of sign of U.S. economic progress? I appreciate your wishful thinking, but the evidence against any significant resurgence of America's place in the world is mounting.I wish it weren't so, because  ten of millions of good people are going to be hurt, not through any fault of their own. What about the millions of children I cite in the article  whose lives are basically destroyed (certainly stunted)  before they really begin, or are they just collateral damage in the great advance of American capitalism? 

You're supporting the basic thesis of the article as you fire one of the first shots against your fellow American workers who are not like you! 


azul January 6, 2011 10:15 am (Pacific time)

par contre pour la guerre l'amérique trouve de l'argent il vaut faire une révolution pour un changement radical,encore heureux obama vient de la clase moyenne qui a donné une couverture maladie contre tout ses répuplicain sioniste il faut soutenir l'effort que fait obama,je sais que c'est pas facile il est entouré que de foucon et de vipére, je pense que son deuxiéme mandat sera défferent il aura plus de libertée a faire du social pour les gens pauvres.


Douglas Benson January 6, 2011 8:50 am (Pacific time)

How true ,but lets not forget what came next . The people faced with the fact they were all in the same boat united to force major changes . Its starting to look a lot like WWII .Get ready to see a large shift in politics ,unions etc. United we stand . It can be done ,I just wonder how bad it will get before the awakening begins to effect change. I have seen it happen on a small scale a few years ago durring a carpenters strike . Its one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life . Unity and a common cause is a powerfull thing . Get ready to dig in its going to get rough.


Anonymous January 6, 2011 8:40 am (Pacific time)

People vote incorrectly because they are not informed..Skool teaches them nothing, the mainstream teaches them nothing. I dont blame the people as much as I do those who control education and the media. Before Ron Paul ran for president, 90% of the population did not know what the federal reserve bank is, now, 50% want the fed reigned in or abolished. 90% of the people dont know our foreign policy, they certainly dont know about economic hitmen, as seen in the short clip below. Salem-news has exposed many untruths out there, including 911, and the cancer cure etc. This is from "RT.com" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CofEbxtIxIandNR=1andfeature=fvwp


Anonymous January 6, 2011 6:55 am (Pacific time)

Yeah, while the mainstream media, ben bernamke and the former fed all telling us we are in recovery, and all will be fine. Yeah right. This is a big problem, people believe their television, all owned by a handful with an agenda. Your voting idea was interesting Daniel, but what would be better, is for people to turn off their tv. Anyway, here is a little something for you Daniel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdFzo49G4ZE

[Return to Top]
©2019 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for January 5, 2011 | Articles for January 6, 2011 | Articles for January 7, 2011



The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

Annual Hemp Festival & Event Calendar

Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

Donate to Salem-News.com and help us keep the news flowing! Thank you.